Vol 2, #7, Feb. 16, 2010
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February 16, 2010


iPhone app offers visual dialing on-the-go
Save time, get redemption with Twedemption.com
Yodle continues innovation with Yodle Organic
Quick and easy online university application service for students
Is virtual world dating the future of online dating?
Quebec Carnival launches first online parade competition
Public consultations begin on privacy implications of cloud computing
Online sales for Get Organized on Amazon up 15 per cent
Manage your Bell PRV remotely from your smartphone

iPhone app offers visual dialing on-the-go

Fonolo (fonolo.com), the company that makes it easier and less frustrating to call large companies, announced today the availability of its free iPhone application, giving users a convenient way to experience Fonolo's award-winning service on-the-go.

The frustration of having to "press 1 for this, press 2 for that" to navigate through lengthy phone menus is universal.  From quickly changing a flight time, to reaching an agent about your phone bill, Fonolo allows consumers to visually navigate a company's phone menu with a single tap of the iPhone, before making a call.  

"Users have long been asking for a way to use Fonolo on-the-go," said Fonolo COO Jason Bigue.  "Our iPhone application is a powerful way to access Fonolo's unique service – eliminating the hassle of dealing with phone menus, no matter where you are."

With Fonolo for the iPhone, reaching an agent is as simple as "tapping" on a company's menu.  Fonolo automatically does the rest – calling the company, navigating their phone system and connecting users when it reaches the right spot in the menu.  

Fonolo's award-winning service is now also available in an enterprise package, for organizations looking to improve the customer experience for their callers.  

"Fonolo's mission has always been to improve the experience customers have when calling their large service providers," said Bigue. "Happier callers is a top priority for companies seeking to build brand loyalty and distinguish themselves from their competitors."  

Companies that deploy Fonolo-powered solutions can offer their customers visual navigation, integrated directly into their web or smart phone properties, in addition to other innovative customer experience enhancements.   Top of Page

Save time, get redemption with Twedemption.com

If you ever leave on vacation, step away from your computer for a few days or been on Twitter for a reasonable period of time, it’s easy for your direct message inbox to get full quickly. Blast Applications, a premier creator and developer of iPhone, Twitter and Facebook applications, announces today the official launch of Twedemption.com.

With the new launch of Twedemption.com, a PHP script that allows Twitter users to mass-delete direct messages, you can participate in the latest innovation developed to enhance your Twitter experience. For a one-time fee of $5.99, you can safely and securely delete multiple or all DMs from your inbox on the go.

“If you’ve been receiving a lot of auto generated-direct messages or are building quite a following, this type of program is invaluable for Twitter users,” says Dino Luzzi, CEO of Blast Applications. “What we wanted to do with Twedemption.com was focus on a very talked about problem on Twitter and bring a bit of internet attention to it.”

Going through one-by-one to delete each DM is very time consuming; however with Twedemption.com you can delete all the messages from one Twitter id. Top of Page

Yodle continues innovation with Yodle Organic

Yodle, a leader in local online advertising, is proud to announce Yodle Organic, a new offering specifically designed to help local businesses build their web presence and generate more website traffic for less than $500 per month. Yodle Organic, along with Yodle’s industry leading online paid search offering, Yodle Sponsored, will form a winning combination to offer a robust marketing solution for local business owners that is easy, affordable, and effective at driving relevant traffic and leads. Yodle Organic makes the marketing process used to drive organic rankings and non PPC listings across the web both transparent and easily understood. All marketing activities are tracked in a simple interface and include:

  • Personalized consultation with a dedicated marketing specialist to optimize a site for organic search rankings
  • Website designing and coding with search engine prescribed best practices
  • Video creation and syndication to sites such as YouTube, Metacafe and others
  • Custom content creation and syndication across the web
  • Distribution of a local business profile to Google, Yahoo and Bing and over 75 local search sites and directories.
  • 24/7 access to a performance dashboard that measures progress against goals and much more

Yodle Organic supports the company’s mission to transform online marketing for local businesses making it simple and cost effective.   This new offering will provide the local business owner with a powerful package of marketing best practices and technology to help them navigate an increasingly complex online marketing landscape. 

“The local business owner is being overwhelmed by the many options to develop their web presence.  Yodle now brings these together into a simple and easy to use package.” said Court Cunningham, CEO of Yodle. “Search engine optimization has been a complicated, expensive, and mysterious concept for the local business owner. Yodle Organic will fundamentally change that by clarifying and demystifying the process.  This launch represents another important piece of our ongoing strategy to find new methods to help local businesses to be found online cost effectively and to build and maintain their brands online.” Top of Page

Quick and easy online university application service for students

studdex.com launches new online service for students globally. For the first time, applying online to the right higher education programs has never been easier.

Online application service, studdex.com, today announces the launch of its web service for students going abroad. The new website gives students the chance to manage their applications to universities through one website, meaning students can manage all applications in one place. With 22,000 programs and 1700 partners and universities featured on their website, it is the quickest, cheapest and fastest way to apply.

3,000,000 students going abroad each year are increasingly looking for the perfect solution in their search for universities globally. studdex.com replaces the need for applications to each single university. Simply log on, search for the perfect field of study, city or country, upload application files and receive a guaranteed answer from universities within 15 days.

Services are free of charge for students and allow access from anywhere providing the most advanced security standards by Oracle. Students can rate universities, campus life, share experience with other students, upload pictures and get valuable information, from visa requirements to meeting deadlines for applications, via customized newsletter services from studdex.com.

Felix Schulte, one of the founders comments: "The growing demands and the internationalization of the education market and the success of studdex.com so far means we are perfectly placed to launch a product for helping students and universities connect through us. We pick up the students where they are being let down by the huge bureaucratic obstacles put in their way by the amount of information on the internet, by universities and public institutions." Top of Page

Is virtual world dating the future of online dating?

Online dating doesn't work. Sure, dating sites promote their success stories, but they're few and far between. The odds of being left at the alter of online dating are far greater than the odds of finding true love.

After weeks of email chats, we're still anxious about meeting in person. And when we do meet, research shows that, on average, we will end up liking the person even less. For romance, we want to screen people on experiential attributes such as sense of humor, likeability and rapport. Instead online dating sites force you to screen on searchable attributes such as income, education and religion.

Enter Weopia, the world's first virtual world online dating service designed to fix just that. Weopia.com is an engaging virtual world experience where online daters, from any online dating site, can select an avatar and meet privately in a multitude of engaging dating environments. Dating advice videos, conversation starters and insightful questions aid them in getting to know each other in more meaningful ways.

"It will change the world of online dating. It will improve its effectiveness by leaps and bounds," says Dave Wilkie, Weopia's Co-founder and CEO. "Imagine you can now go further and deeper before you can decide to take it offline. And no face-to-face rejection or the need to get dressed up and spend the time and cash on a date with someone you only know by text chat."

Researchers at Harvard and MIT have found that virtual world dating improves likeability and does make the real life dating experience much better. In fact, you're twice as likely to have a good first date in real life.

"In Weopia, you run around together, fly in hovercraft, ride in sailboats, and then sit and watch the beautiful ocean from the top of a mountain," said Wilkie. "You actually feel like you are there. You engage with voice and text chat and have fun and that's where you start to see those things that make you realize that she might be the one, worth meeting for real. And if not...'Next!' End the date with the Quit button and invite someone else in."

Weopia's purpose is to bridge the gap between traditional online dating and the first real life date, to help the millions of singles to find love faster and with less risk by allowing them to go beyond the written word and experience each other in virtual worlds. Weopia allows users to screen more potential mates in less time while protecting anonymity and providing another step towards ensuring a safe real life date. Virtucom Inc. began development of Weopia in 2008 with a team from Canada, US, Germany, India, China and South Africa. Top of Page

Quebec Carnival launches first online parade competition

The Québec Winter Carnival, along with Netrokid and Frima Studio, is inviting iPhone and iPod Touch gamers around the world to participate in an international Parade competition as part of the 56th edition of the Québec Winter Carnival. To join in the fun, players will be able to download Parade the arcade/strategy game based on the Winter Carnival, for free from Apple's App Store from February 10 through February 12, 2010.

"The Carnival has a long-standing tradition of offering winter fun activities to Québec City locals and visitors, and we're excited to be able to extend this fun to new technology platforms", said Bonhomme Carnaval, the 56 year-old King of the festivities.

Recently launched to great reviews and 4.5 Stars out of 5 on Apple's app store, Parade is a line-drawing game that challenges players to connect as many floats as possible to a head float, while navigating in front of crowds for bonus points, and avoiding collisions. The game also offers a "Level" mode that pits players against the clock as they complete 20 levels comprised of intuitive and counter-intuitive objectives.

"Parade is a really addictive and challenging game and we're looking forward to seeing gamers from around the world compete for the top spot", says David Weiser, founder of Netrokid. "It's amazing to see real-world events, such as the Quebec Winter Carnival, extend their reach to the virtual sphere in such a dedicated manner."

"Parade is a great way to enjoy a winter tradition without freezing one's fingers! We're proud of having contributed our creativity and expertise to the Carnival for the development of this game", says Steve Couture, CEO of Frima.

Parade is the second app and first game to be launched for the 56th edition of the Québec Winter Carnival. The first app, Trompette a virtual version of the iconic Carnival Noisemaker was launched in December 2009 and has already been downloaded by over 20,000 iPhone and iPod Touch owners in 60 countries. Top of Page

Public consultations begin on privacy implications of cloud computing

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced has upcoming consultations with Canadians on privacy issues related to cloud computing practices.

"Businesses and individual Canadians are increasingly likely to make use of cloud computing technologies," said Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart. "And yet, they are often unaware that their activities could be affecting their own privacy. Our goal is to learn more about these issues, so that Canadians, in turn, can also become better informed."

This is the second public consultation aimed at exploring technological trends that are likely to affect the privacy of Canadians. Last month the Commissioner announced that a similar process will focus on the online tracking, profiling and targeting of consumers by marketers and other businesses.

Cloud computing typically refers to the provision of web-based services using hardware and software managed by third parties. The services, including online file storage, social networking sites, webmail and online business applications, are generally located on remote computers. They are available over network connections, regardless of the user's own location.

Proponents of cloud computing say it gives business and private users free or low-cost access to powerful computer resources, without having to purchase these resources themselves.

Critics, however, warn about potential privacy risks. Users, for instance, could lose control over their personal information stored in a cloud, including where it may be stored, who has access to it, and how it may be used, retained or disclosed. Data, moreover, may be stored on computers located in different countries, where it is subject to local laws.

The consultation will give the Office a comprehensive understanding of the privacy issues raised by cloud computing technology and will contribute to the development of new public education and outreach materials. It will also help shape the Office's input into the next parliamentary review of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

The consultation process begins today with a call for participation by interested parties. The Office is inviting written submissions of up to 15 pages in length, which will be accepted until April 15. The Office is also seeking expressions of interest from individuals wanting to take part in a formal discussion panel, to be held in Calgary in June. The intent is to canvass a broad range of views from business, government, academics, consumer associations and civil society.

Consultations on the privacy issues raised by the tracking, profiling and targeting of consumers by marketers and other businesses were announced January 18 and will take place in Toronto in April and Montreal in May. Top of Page

Online sales for Get Organized on Amazon up 15 per cent

Home and specialty retailer Get Organized reports Amazon.com sales in December were up more than 15% in 2009 compared to 2008. The positive trend continues into 2010, as preliminary January demand figures show growth upward of 20% over the same period in 2009.

Get Organized utilizes Ability Marketplace interface software from Ability Commerce to integrate their order management system with Amazon.com systems, and relies on marketing services provider Marketing Concepts (sister company of Ability Commerce) to manage the shopping feeds. “We’re getting the right information exchanged quickly and efficiently,” says Michael Abolafia, Get Organized Director of Ecommerce, “so we can provide the kind of quick, consistent fulfillment web shoppers demand.”

The Ability Marketplace interface also automates the data feeds required, allowing Get Organized to offer a wider array of products on Amazon.com without the increased costs of manual entry.

Over 15% of all online retail sales now come from Amazon.com, according to industry statistics, so a company’s interface with Amazon is critical for sales and growth.

Abolafia attributes their success to a team approach. Helena Lungstrom, Marketing Concepts account manager for Get Organized, said, “The Get Organized team has a great ability to react quickly to consumer demand and keep the ’hot‘ products in stock while their competitors aren’t prepared, and the Ability Marketplace software interface lets us keep Michael’s team informed with the latest competitive pricing data.”

The Marketing Concepts services team is responsible for meeting the standards associated with winning Amazon’s coveted “buy box,” which often leads to increased sales. “Quality content helps with ’buy box‘ achievement,” says Lungstrom, “because customers are given better information prior to purchase, thereby reducing the number of returns.”

Abolafia added, “We’re thrilled with the results we’ve seen on Amazon.com in the past year. Sales have increased and we’ve been able to reach out to a greater audience.”  Top of Page

Manage your Bell PVR remotely from your smartphone

Bell announced the launch of Remote PVR, a national service that enables Bell TV subscribers to schedule and manage their TV recordings from their Bell Mobility smartphones or any computer with an Internet connection.

Available in time for the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Remote PVR is unique to Bell in Canada and makes TV better by enabling customers to manage their HD PVR using three screens - TV, Internet and mobile.

"Anyone who has a PVR understands how these amazing devices have revolutionized the TV viewing experience by letting customers better manage their TV content," said Kevin Crull, President of Bell Residential Services. "Bell TV's Remote PVR takes this even further by enabling subscribers to conveniently schedule and manage their recordings any time from anywhere using their Bell Mobility smartphones or their Internet-connected computers."

Remote PVR allows subscribers to filter their program guide by genres, networks, sports and more; access guide content via an intuitive search feature; view program images; and, on Internet-connected computers, movie trailers too.

Subscribers who connect broadband Internet service to their HD PVR get even more features, such as the ability to track PVR disk space to ensure ample room for upcoming recordings, set recording priorities and review, edit and delete recordings, and even use their smartphone or computer as a remote control.

Remote PVR is available at no charge to all Bell TV subscribers with an HD PVR 9242 or 9241 receiver. Customers can connect their HD PVR to broadband Internet service by using either an Ethernet cable or Homeplug adaptor, both available from Bell stores or on bell.ca for $50. Data and international roaming charges may apply for those using a smartphone to access the service. Remote PVR is made possible with technology provided by Sling Media, Inc.

The Remote PVR launch comes just in time for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, of which Bell is a Premier National Partner and the Exclusive Telecommunications Partner.

"As Canadians gear up to watch the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Remote PVR will ensure they don't miss a second of the action," Crull said.

Bell TV subscribers and Bell Mobility clients with enabled handsets and applicable data plans will be able to access 2010 Winter Games coverage thanks to Bell's partnership with Canada's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, which includes content from 10 networks in 22 languages. Consortium stations include English networks CTV, Sportsnet, TSN and OLN, French networks V, RDS and RIS Info Sports, and multi-language networks OMNI, APTN and ATN.

Bell TV subscribers will get a virtual front row seat to all the best action during the Games with no-charge access to 5 HD channels featuring exclusive, live and unedited footage from key competitions. Top of Page